Esprit today (9 January) announced that Puma executive Melody Harris-Jensbach will join the company in the new role of chief product and design officer.

The fashion firm said the move is part of plans to pull together all its product development, design and licensing activities to ensure brand consistency and product efficiency.

Harris-Jensbach will be responsible for managing the creation and design of all product divisions and Esprit's global license business. She will have full accountability for all products and license businesses, design and product management.

Esprit began working on a transformation plan in September, revealling that it would exit North America and dispose of its retail operations in a number of other countries. It is also working to redevelop its brand positioning.

Harris-Jensbach was Puma's deputy CEO and chief product officer, a position she held since 2008. In that position she was responsible for Puma's category development, license partnerships, research and product development, design and worldwide merchandising for the company.

Between 1998 and 2007, Harris-Jensbach held various senior management positions within Esprit.

"We are delighted to see Melody Harris-Jensbach returning to Esprit and to strengthen our Board of Management. Melody's product and design strategy has been instrumental to Esprit's successful development until 2007," said Esprit CEO Ronald van der Vis.

"She is widely recognised for her outstanding, international expertise and track record in the fields of products, design and licensing in the fashion and lifestyle industry and she has the clear advantage to know the Esprit brand and organisation very well.

"I am very confident that Melody will make great contributions to achieving our objective of re-establishing Esprit as a leading, inspiring fashion brand and creating a recognizable Esprit handwriting in our collections."

Harris-Jensbach's appointment is effective today.